David J. Glass Wins Another Relocation Case

After a four day trial in Santa Barbara County, Glass’ client, a mother of four children between the ages of 4 and 10, was permitted to relocate to Los Angeles County to pursue a job offer, and to move the children from the Christian school they had attended to a highly-ranked public school.  Glass’ arguments in the matter centered on the “Gavron” warning that compelled his client to become employed at a reasonable level to help support herself and the children, and the fact that she had completed an extensive job search in Santa Barbara but had been unable to find full-time work.  In terms of the school issue, Glass argued that California’s “Establishment Clause” – prohibiting the state from choosing one religion over another or of choosing a religious option over a non-religious option – prevented the Court from choosing to have the children remain in their current school.  In the simplest of terms, Glass argued that if the parties could not agree to enroll the children in a religious school, that the only option became which parent had a better public school option.

The Court recognized Glass’ client’s primary custodial care history, her valid and reasonable job offer, and her choice of a high-quality public school in Hidden Hills, and allowed the mother to relocate with the children.   The Court, however, skirted the “Establishment Clause” issue by focusing, instead, on the difficulty that the father had in continuing to pay the private school tuition.   Oddly enough, California has no cases in precedent on the issue of the Court’s ability to choose a religious school over a public school for children.